Touring Plans currently has a great Wizarding World in a Day touring plan for guests, but it doesn’t start at Islands of Adventure for Early Park Admission. This post explains the strategy, our choices, and the Harry Potter in One Day Touring Plan with Islands of Adventure Early Park Admission.
Early Park Admission & Strategy
Early Park Admission (EPA) grants Universal Orlando hotel guests, annual passholders, and Touring Plans Travel Agency ticket purchasers receive access to select attractions in the Universal Parks. Universal Studios Florida and/or Islands of Adventure open one hour before the official park opening time. [Blog – Early Park Admission]
Our current Touring Plan accounts for Early Park Admission at Universal Studios Florida. Recently we noticed that Universal switched to offering Early Park Admission at Islands of Adventure and Volcano Bay for the majority of the year. This means our current one-day Wizarding World touring plan works only a few days of the year. Incorporating our new data about Hagrid’s Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure we have a new one-day Wizarding World plan that incorporates all the attractions, shows, and diversions in Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley areas.
This new one-day play starts with Early Park Admission in Islands of Adventure. It will focus on the following bottlenecks:
- Hagrid’s Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure wait times and no Express Pass
- Ollivanders in Diagon Alley wait times and exploring the wand stations in both parks
- The Hogwarts Express return trip to Hogsmeade
Wizarding World One Day/Two Parks Plan for Early Park Admission at Islands of Adventure
- Arrive at the turnstiles at least 30 to 60 minutes prior to Early Park Admission (90 to 120 minutes before official opening time).
- Enter the park and bear right with hotel key cards in hand to show Team Members.
- Follow signage to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Stay to the left of Green Eggs & Ham restaurant (picture) and hug the waterfront.
- Follow the Team Member signs to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
- If you are among the first guests in the park ride Hagrid’s Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure. If not, go to the next step.
- Ride Flight of the Hippogriff.
- Ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Stow loose articles in the lockers.
- If you have not already, ride Hagrid’s Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure. Be careful, the entrance to this attraction might be in front of the Hogwarts Express or the Lost Continent.
- Take the Hogwarts Express train from Hogsmeade to London.
- Get your photograph in front of the Knight Bus and say hello to the conductor.
- Experience the Ollivanders Fine Wands show in Diagon Alley.
- Eat lunch at the Leaky Cauldron.
- Explore the shops, wand stations, and other details of Diagon Alley.
- Interspersed with exploring see the Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees and Tales of Beedle the Bard shows next to The Hopping Pot.
- Ride Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.
- Ride the Hogwarts Express from London to Hogsmeade. This is a different experience than coming from Hogsmeade.
- Eat dinner at The Three Broomsticks and enjoy a drink on the patio, it’s been one long day.
- Explore Hogsmeade’s shops, wand stations, and other details.
- Watch the Tri-Wizards Tournament Ralley and Frog Choir shows.
- If available, see The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle.
- Re-ride the attractions ins or explore either more of Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley till park closures.
Explaining Our Methodology
As we’ve said recently it is best to skip Hagrid and ride Forbidden Journey and Flight of the Hippogriff first. Hagrid frequently opens late, wasting important touring time, and your time is better spent with the other two attractions. Unless you are among the first in line for Hagrid we advise you to ride immediately before Early Entry ends, at 11:00 am, or the last hour the park is open.
There are two Ollivanders Wand Shops with the show theater at Universal Orlando. Between the two locations we recommend visiting the Diagon Alley shop – that’s where Harry gets his first wand plus it has shorter waits. While this might seem counter-intuitive the Diagon Alley outpost features double the capacity of the Hogsmeade location.
Finally, the Hogwarts Express in Diagon Alley’s return trip to Hogsmeade is a massive bottleneck any day Islands of Adventure closes after Universal Studios Florida. Most guests put off the return trip till later in the evening and Universal will artificially inflate the wait time prior to closure. Our plan hit the attractions in Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley’s Escape From Gringotts before the late afternoon rush for the Hogwarts Express.
- Purchase park admission before arriving – you will save time and money.
- Hold off on purchasing merchandise until riding Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Hagrid’s Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure, and Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. These attractions require mandatory lockers for loose items which take up touring time.
- Take a mid-day break. Return to your hotel to refresh, drop off merchandise, and re-group.
- Skip the single-rider lines if this is your first visit, the queues are attractions in and of themselves.